Michael Finley couldn’t be stopped by the league’s best defensive team, leading the Dallas Mavericks within one victory of matching the best start in NBA history.
Finley was at his best Wednesday night, scoring a career-high 42 points before leaving with more than eight minutes left and the Mavericks on their way to a 102-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
With a 14-0 record, the Mavericks will be looking to match the best start in NBA history -- 15-0 by Washington in 1948-49 and Houston in 1993-94 -- when they play tonight at Indiana.
“We’ll have our hands full in Indiana,” Coach Don Nelson said. “If we get beat, it’s no big deal.”
The big deal against Detroit was the way Finley scored almost at will.
Finley was 13 for 28 from the field and 15 for 17 from the free-throw line. He had 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals as the Mavericks steamrolled the Pistons for the second time this month.
After leading by as many as 52 points in a 114-75 victory over Detroit on Nov. 9, the Mavericks turned this one into a laugher during the third quarter. The Mavericks ran three consecutive isolation plays for Finley in the fourth quarter so he could try to surpass his previous career high of 39 points.
Finley reached 40 on a fadeaway from the corner over Corliss Williamson with 10:05 to play. When Dallas ran the same play and Finley faked Williamson off his feet, Williamson flagrantly fouled Finley, bruising Finley’s shoulder.
Finley made both free throws to reach 42 points, and Williamson got a huge ovation on Dallas’ next possession when he finally was able to keep Finley from scoring on the same play.